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nature, and often diversified by striking and picturesque touches. He never appears as a servile imitator, though several of his topics had been anticipated by Somerville and Thomson ; as fox-hunting, stag-hunting, hay-making, reaping, the musio of birds, and the production of insects. In various other topics he may be advantageously compared with later descriptive poets. Thus, his characteristic description of forest trees, may be compared with that of Gisborne in his “Walks in a Forest :'
Chief of the glade, the oak, its foliage stained
How wide his arms the stately ash extends;
In the localities of description, where the subject admits of vivid contrast or pioturesque delineation, Wilson frequently exhibits both energy and discrimination. The
THE LIFE OF JOHN WILSON,
dark majesty of Tinto, the towering grandeur of Ailsa, the falls of the Clyde, which in an uncommon degree unite sublimity and picturesque beauty, were subjects calculated to excite the enthusiasm of poetical fancy ; but many of the names which occur in Clyde,' would have found a more appropriate place in topography than in poetry. The style of description which he employs, consists rather in the accurate enumeration of particular objects, than in the expression of the mental feelings they are fitted to inspire. Instead of describing the effect of a scene on the mind of the observer, he delineates, piece by piece, the different parts of which it is composed. For this reason, his enumerations of objects sometimes present an obscure or a confused picture; his groups are silent and dead; and from his delineations of natural objects, we feel not the emotions with which the view of nature affects us. Sometimes, however, his verscs present not the mere delineation of a scene, but the description of a person observing a scene, whose mind reflects, like a mirror, the objects with which he is surrounded, and receives the character and colouring with which they are invested. Whether we regard his versification, or facility of delineating natural objects, Wilson ranks high as a loco-descriptive poet. He cannot indeed aspire to the highest degree of excellence; but the present age, more just to deceased poets than that in which they lived, delights in reviving the fame which had been obscured by the blaze of superior reputation. It is to writers of this class that we owe the formation of a great part of poetical phraseology, and the introduction of many new images into poetry. They provide the rough materials, which are moulded into form by a superior genius, as the most magnificent cities have risen from the ruins of towns less splendid.
ANALYSIS OF CANTO I.
INVOCATION—Inscription of the poem to Lady HyndfordRise of Clyde-Address to Tweed and Annan–Lead-minesFlocks Morning-Shepherd life, in these districts, compared with that of Arcadia—Bagbie, Lamington, Lockhart-hall, with allusions to family history--Appearance of the different kinds of grain-Clyde compared to Britannia's king surrounded by his vassals—The Sower-Dangers to which the seed is exposed -Generation of Insects —Mowers-Reapers—TintoDouglas Castle Legend concerning it_Origin of the Clan Douglas-Origin of Somerville-Falls of the Clyde-Lanark -Peaceful regulations of Kenneth-Death of the wife of Wallace by Hazelrig --Allusion to the battle of Agricola and Galgacus-Lockhart-Stonebyres-Origin of the family of Vere
- Appearances of forest and fruit trees-Music of birdsNoon - Thunder-storm - Craignethan - Dalserf - Dalziel — Avondale-Chattelherault-Hamilton-Account of the family of Hamilton-Fox-hunting-Stag-hunting-Spawning of sal
-Scottish bison-Bothwell, the ancient seat of the Murrays--Allusion to the battle of Bothwell-bridge-Calder Woodhall, the seat of Campbell of Isla.